ABC of NC Child Development Center and Peppercorn Theatre at The Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem (Peppercorn Theatre) will come together to create an autism spectrum disorder and sensory sensitivity -friendly performance of Peppercorn’s summer show Take One Step. The performance will be held on Saturday, July 18 at 11:00am at The Arts Council’s Hanesbrands Theater. Free or discounted tickets are available for families who might otherwise not be able to attend.
Autism spectrum disorder is a general term for a group of complex disorders of brain development. Autism spectrum disorder is characterized in varying degrees, including difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication deficits, and repetitive behaviors. Many individuals with autism can be over-stimulated by the world around them which can make environments – like the theater – with loud noises, overly bright or dark lighting, and unfamiliar characters, a challenge to attend and enjoy.
“Making the larger community, and more specifically the arts, more accessible for the population that we serve has long been a goal of ABC of NC.” said Casey Raymer, Director of Development at ABC of NC Child Development Center. ABC of NC is a Winston-Salem based non-profit that provides diagnostic, therapeutic, and educational services to children with autism and their families. “The partnership with Peppercorn Theatre enables us to not only bring the magic of the theater directly to children we serve through our Summer Education Program, but to the larger autism community.”
Take One Step is a fast-paced, fantastical, modern, musical retelling of the Pied Piper story set in a big city with a big problem. When the Pied Piper comes to town to help the children of Metropolita rid their city of rats, the citizens learn to value relationships and trust over money and greed.
The Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem’s mission is to create a compelling destination for our community to play and learn by experiencing literature, storytelling, and the arts and their Peppercorn Theatre is introducing live performance art to the children and families of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and surrounding communities through this partnership with ABC of NC. Peppercorn’s ASD and sensory sensitivity-friendly performance is one step towards better serving audience members with social and sensory sensitivities. For the ASD/sensory friendly show, adjustments will be made to the level of the lights, sound within the house will be lowered, and the cast and crew will be prepared for what it means to perform for an audience of families and children with autism and other sensory integration challenges. “Collaborations strengthen our community and Peppercorn Theatre at the Children’s Museum is excited to partner with ABC of NC and share this performance with families in our autism community” said Elizabeth Dampier, Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem.
The performance will be staffed with autism specialists from ABC of NC to provide support for children and families for whom going to the theater is a novel experience. A social story (a written or visual guide that describes a situation, like going to the theatre, in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses) will help children with autism and their families to prepare for the performance and what they can expect to see, hear, and experience.
This project is made possible with funding from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County (Arts Council). In addition to the performance of Take One Step, this Arts Council Community Enrichment Mini-Grant funds a teaching-artist at ABC of NC’s Summer Education Program during the week of June 13-17 and a cast visit to the summer program on July 14.
You can learn more HERE.